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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 04-28-2013, 09:06 PM   #1
epistaxis2008
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This is why you replace your fuel filter!!!

Just replaced mine this morning and let it drain and evaporate as much as possible and was wondering how bad could it have really been. Then my curiosity couldn't handle it anymore. So I got a huge flathead and pryed the little tabs holding the regulator in and then popped that off once it was loose with channel locks. Then I cranked the channel locks all the way around like a can opener til this is what I found!!! >>>Click image for larger version

Name:	uploadfromtaptalk1367201040457.jpg
Views:	2115
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ID:	502918 that's 10-12 years of shxt this thing has been filtering and clogging up with and causing long starts and random stalls and lack of power. Along with my bad cam sensors but I felt an immensely noticeable increase in power on my first trip around the block after replacing my fuel filter... And you should too.


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Old 04-28-2013, 09:35 PM   #2
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doing exactly what it should do....
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:36 PM   #3
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Yikes! I'd say, every 50K is a good interval.
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Old 04-28-2013, 11:22 PM   #4
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How many miles on that thing?
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:24 AM   #5
epistaxis2008
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140,000 if the previous owners didn't change it. I'd say it was original.

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Old 04-29-2013, 08:45 AM   #6
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Great post.

Swapped mine out a few years ago. I'll be peeling this one open when it's time again.
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:16 AM   #7
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Glad everyone likes the pic. I was posting to show why its a must and why not to prolong it.

Remember if you are as curious as I am to do so as slowly and safely as possible. Do not use power tools, do not cause sparks as you are going in on your filter.


I don't know why it often seems that people here are so against p.m. and good upkeep and regular service intervals. They are integral to your cars survival. A fuel filter swap is under $100 and less than an hour to do yourself.

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Last edited by epistaxis2008; 04-29-2013 at 09:18 AM.
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:01 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by epistaxis2008 View Post
I don't know why it often seems that people here are so against p.m. and good upkeep and regular service intervals. They are integral to your cars survival. A fuel filter swap is under $100 and less than an hour to do yourself.
I don't think anyone is against replacing things like this, some people just don't want to replace functioning water pumps, radiators and such as preventative maintenance.

I find it amazing that fuel filters can last 140K these days, in the 80's the typical recommended fuel filter replacement interval was 12K!
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:35 AM   #9
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Ripping apart a metal container full of gasoline; what could possibly go wrong!

I just swapped mine out at 78K miles and had the same thought about wanting to see what the inside looked like. But then my intense fear of being burned to death took over and I decided that some things are just best left unknown!
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:42 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by lszlszx View Post
I don't think anyone is against replacing things like this, some people just don't want to replace functioning water pumps, radiators and such as preventative maintenance.

I find it amazing that fuel filters can last 140K these days, in the 80's the typical recommended fuel filter replacement interval was 12K!
you'd be surprised. we've had a few debate this over the years
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:49 AM   #11
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Mine looked just like that after 85k miles.
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:14 AM   #12
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At just shy of 100k, I replaced my fuel pump last weekend. Would have replaced my filter at the same time, but was unsure of exactly what parts to order. After gathering information from a number of different sources here, I found it a bit confusing.

So, would greatly appreciate it if someone here could list the very specific parts and procedure required, as well as why it's necessary to lift the entire car versus just the left side. Or is it?

And as a footnote to the fuel pump replacement, with the engine running, I pulled the fuse on the pump and the engine ran for 30 seconds or so before dying. When disconnecting the hose, I put a rubber plug into the pump and a golf tee into the hose and didn't lose more than a drop or two of gas. When restarting, it couldn't have taken more than 1-2 seconds for the new pump to fully pressurize the system. And lastly, just to be certain it worked before installing it, I electrically connected the new pump. It worked just fine but, without it being held in place by the tank, what a b*tch to get that connector off before actually installing it. Would never do that again.
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:22 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by sgoetz628 View Post
At just shy of 100k, I replaced my fuel pump last weekend. Would have replaced my filter at the same time, but was unsure of exactly what parts to order. After gathering information from a number of different sources here, I found it a bit confusing.

So, would greatly appreciate it if someone here could list the very specific parts and procedure required, as well as why it's necessary to lift the entire car versus just the left side. Or is it?

And as a footnote to the fuel pump replacement, with the engine running, I pulled the fuse on the pump and the engine ran for 30 seconds or so before dying. When disconnecting the hose, I put a rubber plug into the pump and a golf tee into the hose and didn't lose more than a drop or two of gas. When restarting, it couldn't have taken more than 1-2 seconds for the new pump to fully pressurize the system. And lastly, just to be certain it worked before installing it, I electrically connected the new pump. It worked just fine but, without it being held in place by the tank, what a b*tch to get that connector off before actually installing it. Would never do that again.
I'll make it simple for you.

1) Pull fuse #54. Start engine a couple times and let die. Same as you did w/ the fuel pump. This will minimize fuel loss as pressurized fuel is spent by the engine.

2) Lift left side of car safely. Support said left side safely with jackstands. (or hell, lift the whole car if you want, it doesn't matter) the point is to lift the car high enough to gain access.

3) Undo cover plate for fuel filter using 8 and 10mm nuts.

4) Remove fuel filter and four rubber lines.

5) Install new fuel filter, universal clamps (or BMW clamps if you'd like but make sure you have the correct tool to fit them.) and Genuine BMW fuel line cut to the correct length (four pieces) also BMW vacuum line for the pressure regulator that connects to the hard plastic line. Just straight cut the hard plastic line with a razor blade. You might cut a few millimeters off of it, no worries.

And you're done. So all you'll need is a new fuel filter, vacuum line, new clamps, and new Genuine BMW fuel line
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Last edited by Mango; 04-29-2013 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:28 AM   #14
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If you jack up one side of the car it will throw off the BMW fuel asymmetry sensor and can cause your entire fuel system to implode. This will also take out your water pump, window regulator and pillar cloth as apart of the BMW limp mode system.

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Old 04-29-2013, 11:40 AM   #15
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If you jack up one side of the car it will throw off the BMW fuel asymmetry sensor and can cause your entire fuel system to implode. This will also take out your water pump, window regulator and pillar cloth as apart of the BMW limp mode system.
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:55 AM   #16
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I'll make it simple for you.

1) Pull fuse #54. Start engine a couple times and let die. Same as you did w/ the fuel pump. This will minimize fuel loss as pressurized fuel is spent by the engine.

2) Lift left side of car safely. Support said left side safely with jackstands. (or hell, lift the whole car if you want, it doesn't matter) the point is to lift the car high enough to gain access.

3) Undo cover plate for fuel filter using 8 and 10mm nuts.

4) Remove fuel filter and four rubber lines.

5) Install new fuel filter, universal clamps (or BMW clamps if you'd like but make sure you have the correct tool to fit them.) and Genuine BMW fuel line cut to the correct length (four pieces) also BMW vacuum line for the pressure regulator that connects to the hard plastic line. Just straight cut the hard plastic line with a razor blade. You might cut a few millimeters off of it, no worries.

And you're done. So all you'll need is a new fuel filter, vacuum line, new clamps, and new Genuine BMW fuel line

Sweet. Thank you. Assuming when I pull the old filter, the hose lengths will be obvious, but in advance of that, can you suggest how much to buy. Danka
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:59 AM   #17
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Sweet. Thank you. Assuming when I pull the old filter, the hose lengths will be obvious, but in advance of that, can you suggest how much to buy. Danka
a foot will be way more than enough
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Old 04-29-2013, 12:18 PM   #18
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Many thanks again. Can't wait to see what the filter looks like
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Old 04-29-2013, 12:32 PM   #19
epistaxis2008
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a foot will be way more than enough
Definitely, theure only about 3 inches each and u need 3 of them all about the same length... Make sure u check yours out first tho before you quote me on that and cut em beforehand...

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Old 04-29-2013, 01:17 PM   #20
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Sweet. Thank you. Assuming when I pull the old filter, the hose lengths will be obvious, but in advance of that, can you suggest how much to buy. Danka
Buy a foot. You can use any hose of the correct internal diameter and is called "Fuel Injector" hose. FI hose is rated for higher pressures than regular fuel hose.
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